Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Counter Strike Meme


check it out here:

Merry Merry X-Mas

I hope everyone had a fun Christmas. I spent Christmas at my aunt n uncle's pad. It was cool hanging out and watching everyone open their gifts.

cute costume

My bro n his gf got a Pekingese puppy. I think they named her Mooby thinking she was a he. Either way, she's really cute and loves to be held. I hope she'll get along with the other dogs lol.

I pretty much lucked out this Christmas because I needed an audio recorder for a video shoot coming up. I was glad to get 15 bucks off from Guitar Center right before Christmas. The Zoom H1 is a great accessory to any camera for better audio recordings. It records in WAV or 320 kbps MP3. I'm getting a hotshoe adaptor so I can place it directly on top of my Panasonic GF2 in the future. 

 Hope you guys have a fun and safe New Years.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quick Notes from UFC 139 Shogun vs Henderson

Great to have the UFC local again.  HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.

bro telling a story after the weigh ins

cuzzo amped up for the fights

g prolly checking fighter updates on his phone

after the Faber win

my vantage point during the main event

bro and his girl posing next to the octagon post fight

  • I had it a draw for the Shogun/Hendo fight. I gotta watch it again. Instant classic. 
  • Cung Le fight seemed like a premature stoppage but you gotta air in the side of fighter safety.
  • Good win for Faber. He won in stunning fashion. I had picked Bowles to win.
  • Tom Lawlor got put to sleep by Chris Weidman. Tom dressing up as Steven Seagal at weigh ins was hilarious.
  •  Cool to see a lot of peeps I haven't seen in a while at this event. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

86 Corolla Motor Swap

I stopped by my friend's place yesterday to watch him and his brother swap in a motor for his 86 Corolla, a car popularized by the anime called Initial D. All went well until we hit a little snag. It was a bit frustrating and much time was wasted but we managed to get over that hurdle in time for Wing Stop lol.

I felt the need to snap a few photos with my new Panasonic GF2 + 20mm f1.7 lens because Slickdeals directed me to a link where I could get 25 4x6 photos for free at the Walgreens site using a coupon code. Last week I printed 40 for free courtesy of Slickdeals once again. This came at a perfect time as I've been snapping photos like crazy as of late.

Here are the photos. I'm seriously enjoying the new camera and lens.

went for a vintage look in this pic

vintage pic for a vintage car

crane technique

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Observations of the Panasonic GF2 + the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens

pic taken with my trusty Canon sx130

I just received the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens yesterday. I am no longer left with just a camera body so now I'm finally able to take some shots with the GF2. I opted to get the GF2 body only so I wouldn't be stuck with a kit lens that I'd probably resell anyway.

I'm not doing a full on review of the camera itself as well as a review on the 20mm lens but I will be talking about things that I have noticed and other things of interest using this system as a whole. I do hope though that this post will help someone decide if this combo is a good fit for themselves. 

pic taken with my Samsung Focus

First off, the size is very compact. It's smaller than my Canon SX130. The GF2 is wider than the SX130 but the height is a bit shorter and much thinner. Weight-wise it's a tad heavier than the SX130 but not enough to make a real difference. I'm just amazed that a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera can be smaller than a point and shoot.

I chose to attach the Lumix camera neck strap to the GF2. I would wear the strap around my neck then extend the strap enough so that I feel light pressure on my neck as I hold the camera with both hands with my elbows tucked to my sides.  This helped me stabilize my shots. I figure I'd use this same technique while shooting videos as well in the future.

The image quality from the GF2 + 20mm f1.7 is phenomenal. This small set of pics were in a friends garage. The lighting was decent with one typical garage light but the low light capabilities of this system flourished in this environment. I left the lens wide open at 1.7 with an iso of 800. The shutter speed ranged from 1/20s - 1/60s in these pictures. I changed the color a bit in photoshop to have a more vintage feel. The lens was slightly noisy when focusing so I can see it making a bit of a negative impact on video but not for stills. 

shallow depth of field is quite apparent without having to be super close up macro style like I would with my Canon SX130

tack sharp

buddy doing a motor swap

With the shoe picture I used the in-camera flash but I bounced the flash up at the ceiling using my finger. A neat little trick! Here's an example picture.


Since the white ceiling was low, the bounce flash technique worked great in this instance. I sped up the exposure to make sure that the bounce flash lit the subject vs the ambient light being in the mix. Aperture was at F2.0 and shutter at 1/80s. I can see myself using this same technique for indoor portraits under the same conditions. 

Canon SX130. Another pic playing with the bounce flash on the GF2. F1.8. 1/80s ISO100
yea one more bounce flash. 1.7. 1/60s ISO100

The cool thing about his lens is that it has a hot shoe mount so I can add an electronic view finder in the future or an external flash. I'd choose the latter so I can bounce a more powerful flash for better exposures for indoor portraits.

This camera/lens combo is ideal for people who like taking pictures of food. If you are a foodie who loves taking pictures of a plate dish, this combo would be for you because you get the sharpness, low light performance in low lit restaurants, and still have shallow depth of field. Above pictures isn't the best example but you can take my word for it!(I've seen many examples in flickr using this lens for this situation)

Black and White images look superb. I've seen a lot of black and white pictures with this lens and seems like a good lens to use for black and white environmental portraits. 

The GF2 with the 20mm f1.7 focuses pretty fast(faster than my Canon SX130 no doubt) but I what I like is that I can pre-focus on what I want as the subject by touching the screen. For instance if I instead wanted to focus on the people in the background vs the Hennessy bottle, I would touch them on my lcd and it would  focus on them and have the bottle out of focus. This technique is great when I want to specify a certain part to be in focus regardless if that part is in the center or in a corner.

This camera seems to strive in environmental portraits. The lens is 20mm which means it's a 40mm equivalent on a 35mm full frame sensor. It may not be the best for regular studio portraits. For that I would chose a longer focal length like the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm 1.8 which is a 90mm equivalent on a 35mm. In any case, the 20mm f1.7 is much more versatile. It can be used to shoot long range(landscape), mid range ( environmental   portraits) and close range (pix of small objects). 

I'm very satisfied with the GF2 + 20mm f1.7. It fits the bill for what I use it for. If or when I want to go super wide, a good option is the Olympus M.Zuiko12mm  F2.0. If I wanna go longer for portraits, the Olympus 45 F1.8. If I want a great pancake zoom, the Panasonic 14-42 HD lens is great. I'm not sure which of those three I want next since the popular 20mm f1.7 lens will keep me busy for a long time! 

Video does really well in low light but you can hear the lens focusing in quiet video. There aren't much settings while in video except that you can be in a scene mode or color mode while recording. ISO is adjusted automatically.

After playing around a bit with the video settings, there are a bit more controls than initially expected. You can touch to focus while recording video or focus manually. Also you can force the shutter speed to 1/50, 1/60, 1/100 or 1/120 in the Flicker Reduction setting. 1/50 would have been cool to use if the GF2 had 24 frames per second in conjunction with the Cinema mode for a more cinematic feel...not a major thing but worth mentioning.

feel free to comment or ask a question, cheers!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Leaders Inspire Action

A cool TED lecture about how leaders inspire action. Simon Sinek describes it with an idea called the Golden Circle. Check it out. 

for more TED lectures click here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

EDC 2012

One thing on my bucket list that I really want to cross off soon is going to the Electric Daisy Carnival. I've been itchin' to go for the past couple years but Ima make it a point to go next year! 

Couple cool vids from EDC.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eyeing a New Advanced Compact Camera

With it being Fall season in a day or so, it's usually the time when new cameras come out and the older models get cheaper and even more cheap as Black Friday nears. The camera craze has been the micro 4/3 cameras for the past couple years and now it feels like Olympus and Panasonic come out with newer models every 6 months or less. Even Nikon jumped on board with the compact camera system craze launching the J1 and V1. Canon hasn't jumped in on the craze nor do they need to with great compact cameras like the G12 or the S95 (S100 is coming out this fall!).

There are so many choices and finding the right camera for me seems somewhat tedious. The main attributes I want in a compact interchangeable lens camera is good image and video quality, as well as portability. Without going too into depth about the features(I've already done so in my mind), I have a camera and the lenses I want pretty much set but not in stone. I'm in the market for the Panasonic GF2 with the 20mm F1.7 and the Lumix G X Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6. 

just waiting for the 20mm f1.7 in the mail now

The camera body is one of the smallest if not the smallest in it's class, the newer GF3 model might be a tad smaller. The 20mm and the newer 14-42mm GX lens are both "pancake" lenses and with either of those lenses mounted on a GF2 would make it look like a normal compact camera.

As you can see the normal 14-42 is much longer and doesn't make it as portable as I would like. The longer 14-42 mm and the 14mm posted above are the lens kit options when purchasing the GF2. Unfortunately those lenses don't suit my needs. If I wanted to go wide or shoot video, I can use the quiet pancake 14-42 and I can use the 20mm (40 mm equivalent full frame) for everything else like night shots or portraits. 

I've seen the GF2(body only) for 299 on Crutchfield recently(normally under 500 online) and I would expect a similar price at some places within the next month or so. The 20mm F1.7 runs about 349 on Amazon and everywhere else. The pancake 14-42 would be 399 when it's made available and would drop to 349 eventually. Pricey, yes but the quality and portability combo that comes with it seems unrivaled...for now anyway.

The lens that even bested the 20mm F1.7 is the 25mm F1.4 which is out in Europe and Asia and hard to get in the U.S. I'll leave you with a fun unboxing and sample video of the 25mm (50mm equivalent full frame). The 20mm  I want should get be able to hang with the 25mm for the most part. cheers.

Pancake Panasonic 14-42mm Amazon link
I might go for the 14-45mm if I can't wait for the collapsible Pancake 14-42 HD lens. Also most reviews say the 14-45mm kit lens is much sharper than the 14-42 kit lens that comes with the GF2.
Panasonic 14-45mm Amazon Link

Edit: link to my first impressions of this camera I now have!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New BJJ Blue Belt Team Silva

I got my BJJ blue belt last night. I feel elated. Thanks to all who helped made this possible. Thanks to Master Sergio and my brother Matt, my first instructor who got me hooked. Thanks to Derrick, DT, and Manny for being good instructors. Thanks to my fam and friends for the support and encouragement. Last but not least much thanks to my training partners in Hayward and Alameda, we help each other grow...OSS!

I started a new blog for Team Silva BJJ recently.